Marshall Law is in place in North America, a mysterious virus has struck down most of New York State and only essential travel is authorised. 70’% of the population are quite simply not going to make it and all the checkpoints in the world can’t stop it from spreading. For Vivian only one thing matters, getting to California to see the child she was forced to give up 4 years before. Armed with travel papers, obtained through a lie, and a vehicle which is barely mechanically sound she hits the highway.
Her journey doesn’t go quite the way she planned and soon she finds herself part of a small band of survivors trying to put together the pieces. Where you come from and all the money you had become meaningless, survival puts everyone on equal ground.
Broken world pull no punches right from the start, I enjoyed that we start with Vivian halfway through her journey and right into the heart of a nation gripped with fear. Her feelings and fears are so well written that I felt them with her, her encounters as a lone female travelling through a nightmare put my heart in my mouth and that was just the first few chapters! She’s had a tough lot in life but she is determined to do one thing right by getting to her daughter, even if that means teaming up with with strangers who may or may not have her best interests at heart. Vivian is a strong and fiesty character even if she needs a bit of time to let those strengths show through, she is as human as the rest of us and I love how all the characters remain this way too, giving you an affinity with their reactions.
The book is essentially a road movie with characters joining and leaving the group along the way, Vivian and the Brothers Axl and Angus remain the constants, with Vivian having battle with containing both her attraction and revulsion for each brother who couldn’t be more different from one another. There are some really strong set pieces, most notably the section where they find shelter within a luxury hotel and there are some real heart stopping moments too, are the dead moving again? A too good to be true proposition presents itself and the group find themselves on a journey which could lead to either shelter or suffering, either way it’s the only option left.
This book is both full of action and emotion and whilst it has plenty of tried and tested apocalypse moments they feel right in the context of the story. It could have been a little longer however and I felt that it only ended where it did for maximum impact. The series is quite a long one and this book does feel that it is a lot of “set up” for the characters and story arc for the rest of the series. I hope that I’ll have the opportunity to read more in the future when my tbr reduces!